Assad regime gives Russia Tartus port for 49 years
Russia will begin leasing the naval port of Tartus on Syria’s Mediterranean coast for a period of 49 years starting next week, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov announced on Saturday after meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Borisov, who co-chairs the the Russian-Syrian intergovernmental commission, said that the port would be used for economic and logistical purposes and that its lease would stimulate the Syrian economy, according to the Russian news agency Sputnik.
In January 2017, Russian and the Syrian regime signed an agreement expanding the Russian maintenance and supply facility in the port of Tartus.
The agreement allows Russia to lease the naval port and areas in the vicinity free of charge and to keep 11 warships in the port, including nuclear submarines.
Pro-opposition Syrians reacted with scorn to the news on social media. Media activist Abu al-Hoda al-Homsi said in a tweet, “Moscow says it will rent the port of Tartus for 49 years… and the Assadist gang still talks about national sovereignty.”
Russia intervened militarily in the Syrian conflict in 2015 on the side of the Syrian regime and ever since then has had a large degree of influence over Syrian affairs.
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed or displaced as a result of the conflict, which began with peaceful protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in 2011.